A tree planting ceremony and reception were held to celebrate the hand over of Hellingly Country Park to Hellingly Parish Council by Persimmon Homes.
The event, held on Saturday August 20, was the result of the joint efforts of Hellingly Parish Council (HPC) and Hellingly Community Park Trust’s (HCPT) to turn the grounds of the old Hellingly Hospital grounds into ‘a green space for all.’
Those attending the celebrations included Chairman of Wealden Council Chris Hardy, Chairman of HCPT Gill Hesselgrave, Chairman of Hellingly Parish Council (PC) David White, and Martin Edgley, Technical Director Persimmon Homes South East.
Gill Hesselgrave says the park has been well restored. “The original park was laid out in 1903 by well-known Kew Gardens landscape architect William Goldring,” she said. “It suffered greatly after the closure of the hospital, however much of the structure was still there.
“English Heritage said it was a site of important local interest.
“In 2001 HCPT came into being and was able to obtain the definition of the park as a ‘public open space’.
“HCPT worked with several developers and HPC, but the grounds were eventually restored by Persimmon Homes when they built the Roebuck Park estate.
“The plans were prepared by JFA Environmental Planning.”
Gill says the Lime tree, planted to commemorate the occasion, is quite special to the location. “These trees were planted originally as they were said to have therapeutic benefits for patients. Some are still standing, but several were lost in the hurricane of 1987, so this was deemed an appropriate tree to plant and is accompanied by a stone plaque.”
After the tree planting ceremony around fifty people enjoyed a reception in the pavilion, including members of HPC, HCPT, Roebuck Park Residents Association, and Hailsham Cricket Club - who say they are delighted to be playing on the restored pitch (which has been laid to county standards) and to have use of the new pavilion.
Gill added: “This was always a popular venue in the past owing to its setting in a bowl and surrounded by rhododendron bushes. The ceremony was followed by Hailsham 3rd XI Cricket team playing against Maresfield.
“The HCPT motto is “a green space for all” and this park is a public open space for the whole community.
“It’s a beautiful space.”
Visitors are asked to please respect the residential areas and not park there.